Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar.
Below, events of World War II have the "WWII" prefix.
- February 1 - WWII: The Command staff of the Eighth Air Force reaches England
- February 2 - WWII: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signs an executive order directing the internment of Japanese Americans and the seizure of their property.
- February 3 - WWII: Rommel suspends his offensive in Cyrenaica.
- February 7 - Maritime Commission fleet operations transferred to War Shipping Administration (lasting until September 1, 1946).
- February 8
- António Óscar Carmona is elected president of Portugal.
- WWII: Top United States military leaders hold their first formal meeting to discuss American military strategy in the war.
- Daylight saving time goes into effect in the United States.
- February 9
- February 10 - In the early hours of the morning the SS Normandie capsizes at pier 88 in New York City.
- February 11 - Operation Cerberus A flotilla of Kriegsmarine ships dash from Brest through the English Channel to northern ports; the British fail to sink any one of them.
- February 15 - WWII: Singapore surrenders to Japanese forces.
- February 19 - WWII:
- February 20 - Lieutenant Edward O'Hare becomes America's first U.S. Navy WWII flying ace.
- February 23 - The Japanese submarine I-17 fires 17 high-explosive shells toward an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California, causing little damage.
- February 24 - The, carrying Jewish refugees from Axis-allied Romania to British-controlled Palestine, is torpedoed and sunk by the Soviet submarine Shch 213, killing 768 men, women and children, with only one survivor, a 19 year old man, making it the largest exclusively civilian naval disaster of the war.
- February 24 - Propaganda: The Voice of America begins broadcasting.
- February 25 - The Princess Elizabeth registers for war service.
- February 25 - Battle of Los Angeles: Over 1,400 AA shells are fired at an unidentified, slow-moving object in the skies over Los Angeles. The appearance of the object triggers an immediate wartime blackout over most of Southern California, with thousands of air raid wardens being deployed throughout the city. In total there are 6 deaths. Despite the several hour barrage no planes are downed.
- February 26
- February 27 - WWII - Battle of the Java Sea: An allied (ABDA) task force of 14 vessels under Dutch command, trying to stem a Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies, is defeated by a 19 vessel Japanese task force in the Java Sea; 2.300 sailors die, including the commander, admiral Karel Doorman; Japanese attain naval hegemony in East-Asia
- March - Construction begins on the Badger Army Ammunition Plant (the largest in the United States during WWII).
- March 9 - WWII: Executive order 9082 (February 28, 1942) reorganizes the United States Army into three major commands: Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, and Services of Supply, later redesignated Army Service Forces.
- March 12 - WWII: General General Douglas MacArthur, his family, and key members of his staff are evacuated by PT boat, under cover of darkness, from Corregidor in the Philipines. Command of US forces in the Philipines passes to Major General Jonathan M. Wainwright.
- March 17 - Holocaust: the Nazi German extermination camp Bełżec opens in occupied Poland about 1 km south of the local railroad station of Bełżec in the Lublin district of the General Government. Between March and December 1942, at least 434,508 people are killed there.
- March 16 - WWII: New Zealand and Australia declared war on Thailand.
- March 18 - President Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9102, creating the War Relocation Authority (WRA), which becomes responsible for the internment of Americans of Japanese and, to a lesser extent, German and Italian descent, many of them legal citizens.
- March 28 - WWII: Operation Chariot - British Commandos raid St. Nazaire on the coast of Western France.
- April - Holocaust: the Nazi German extermination camp Sobibor opens in occupied Poland on the outskirts of the town of Sobibór. Between April 1942 and October 1943, at least 160,000 people are killed in the camp.
- Spring - Holocaust: the Nazi German extermination camp Treblinka II opens in occupied Poland near the village of Treblinka. Between July 1942 and October 1943, around 850,000 people were killed there, more than 800,000 of whom were Jews.
- April 3 - WWII: Japanese forces begin an all-out assault on the United States and Filipino troops on the Bataan Peninsula.
- April 5 - WWII: the Japanese Navy attacks Colombo in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Royal Navy Cruisers HMS Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire are sunk southwest of the island.
- April 9
- April 13 - The FCC's minimum programming time required of TV stations is cut from 15 hours to 4 hours a week during the war.
- April 15 - WWII: King George VI awards the George Cross to Malta, saying, "To honour her brave people I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta, to bear witness to a heroism and a devotion that will long be famous in history (from January 1 to July 24, there is only one 24-hour period during which no bombs fall on this tiny island)."
- April 18 - Tokyo, Japan is attacked by the Doolittle Raid, a small force of B-25 Mitchells commanded by then-Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle.
- April 23 - William Temple (archbishop) enthroned Archbishop of Canterbury.
- April 26 - WWII: The Reichstag meets for the last time, dissolving itself and proclaiming Adolf Hitler the "Supreme Judge of the German People", granting him the power of life and death over every German citizen.
- April 27 - WWII: A national plebiscite is held in Canada on the issue of conscription.
- April 27 - The Jewish Star of David is required wearing for all Jews in the Netherlands and Belgium. Other Jews in Nazi countries had been wearing it for longer.
- April 29 - WWII: An explosion at a chemical factory in Tessenderlo, Belgium leaves 200 dead and 1,000 injured.
- August 7 - WWII: Battle of Guadalcanal begins - The U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps begin the first American offensive of the war with an amphibious landing on the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.
- August 8 - Walt Disney's animated film, Bambi premieres in United Kingdom.
- August 9
- Indian leader, Mohandas Gandhi is arrested in Bombay by British forces.
- Start, led by the goalkeeper Nikolai Trusevich, play football against the German Luftwaffe team Flakelf in Nazi-occupied Kiev. Against all odds, they win 5–3. Eight of them are later arrested and tortured, and at least four are killed.
- August 13
- WWII: In Washington, DC, six Germans would-be saboteurs are executed (Two others were cooperative and received sentences of life imprisonment instead. One was spared because of his quite young age: execution was considered to be too harsh for such a young man. The imprisoned ones were freed a few years after the end of the war.)
- Quit India resolution is passed by the Bombay session of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), which led to the start of a historical civil disobedience movement across India.
- Walt Disney's fifth animated film, Bambi is released in the US.
- August 14 night - In London, instruments detect a massive burst of cosmic rays.
- August 15 - WWII: The American tanker SS Ohio reaches Malta as part of the convoy of Operation Pedestal.
- August 16
- August 17 - WWII: First raid by heavy bombers of U.S. Eighth Air Force against occupied France.
- August 19 - WWII - Dieppe Raid: Allied forces raid Dieppe, France.
- August 22 - WWII: Brazil declares war on Germany and Italy.
- August 23 - WWII: German troops reach the suburbs of Stalingrad.
- August 25
- August 30 - Luxembourg is formally annexed to the German Reich.
- August 31 - A general strike is launched in Luxembourg to protest against forced conscription.
- August 31 - September 5 - WWII: Battle of Alam Halfa
- November 2 - A USAF squadron, including B-24 Liberators, intercepts many Luftwaffe patrols off the coast of Oran, Algeria.
- November 3 - WWII - Second Battle of El Alamein: German forces under Erwin Rommel are forced to retreat during the night.
- November 8 - WWII
- Operation Torch - United States and United Kingdom forces land in French North Africa.
- French Resistance Coup in Algiers: 400 French civil resistants neutralize the Vichyist XIXth Army Corps and the Vichyist generals (Juin, Darlan, etc.), so allowing the immediate success of Operation Torch in Algiers, and ultimately the whole of French North Africa.
- November 9 - WWII: U.S serviceman Edward Leonski is hanged at Melbourne's Pentridge Prison for the "Brown-Out" murders of 3 women in May.
- November 10 - WWII: In violation of a 1940 armistice, Germany invades Vichy France, following French Admiral François Darlan's agreement to an armistice with the Allies in North Africa.
- November 12 - WWII - Battle of Guadalcanal: A naval battle near Guadalcanal starts between Japanese and American forces.
- November 13 - WWII:
- November 15 - WWII:
- November 19 - WWII - Battle of Stalingrad: Soviet Union forces under General Georgy Zhukov launch the Operation Uranus counter-attacks at Stalingrad, turning the tide of the battle in the USSR's favor.
- November 20 - WWII - British forces capture Benghazi.
- November 21 - The completion of the Alaska Highway (also known as the Alcan Highway) is celebrated (however, the "highway" is not usable by general vehicles until 1943).
- November 22 - WWII - Battle of Stalingrad: The situation for the German attackers of Stalingrad seems desperate during the Soviet counter-attack Operation Uranus, and General Friedrich Paulus sends Adolf Hitler a telegram saying that the German Sixth Army is surrounded.
- November 23 - A German U-boat sinks the S.S. Ben Lomond off the coast of Brazil. One crewman, Chinese second steward Poon Lim, is separated from the others and spends 130 days adrift until he is rescued on April 3, 1943.
- November 25 - November 26 - Operation Harling: A British SOE team, together with Greek Resistance fighters, blows up the Gorgopotamos viaduct in the first major sabotage act in occupied continental Europe.
- November 26 - The movie Casablanca premières at the Hollywood Theater in New York City.
- November 27 - WWII: At Toulon, the French navy scuttles its ships and submarines to keep them out of Nazi hands.
- November 28
- In Boston, Massachusetts, a fire in the Cocoanut Grove night club kills 491 people.
- The large-scale German "pacification" of the Zamojszczyzna region of Poland begins.
- November 29 - The Blue Star Line cargo liner runs aground on the Skeleton Coast of Namibia. Crew and passengers survive following a 26-day overland trek to Windhoek.
- December 1 - Gasoline rationing begins in the United States.
- December 2 - Manhattan Project: Below the bleachers of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago, a team led by Enrico Fermi initiates the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction (a coded message, "The Italian navigator has landed in the new world" is then sent to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt).
- December 4
- Holocaust: In Warsaw, 2 women, Zofia Kossak and Wanda Filipowicz, risk their lives by setting up the Council for the Assistance of the Jews.
- WWII: USAAF bombers make their first raid on Italy.
- December 7 - WWII: British commandos conduct Operation Frankton, a raid on shipping in Bordeaux harbour.
- December 17
- December 22
- An avalanche in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania kills 26, including Vulcan Crucible Steel Co heir-apparent Samuel A. Stafford Sr., when two 100 ton boulders fall on a bus filled with wartime steel workers on their way home.
- An airplane carrying prominent Ustashe general Jure Francetić crashes. Francetić dies as result of the injuries on December 27.
- December 24 - French Admiral Darlan, the former Vichy leader who had switched over to the Allies following the Torch landings, is assassinated in Algiers.
- December 27 - The Union of Pioneers of Yugoslavia is founded.
- February 1 - Terry Jones, Welsh actor and writer
- February 2
- February 5 - Roger Staubach, American football player
- February 9 - Carole King, American singer and composer
- February 12 - Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel
- February 13 - Peter Tork, American musician and actor (The Monkees)
- February 14
- February 15 - Sherry Jackson, American actress
- February 19 - Paul Krause, American football player
- February 20
- February 21 - Margarethe von Trotta, German actress, film director, and writer
- February 24 - Joseph Lieberman, American politician
- February 25
- February 27
- February 28 - Brian Jones, English musician (The Rolling Stones) (d. 1969)
- March 2
- March 4
- March 5 - Felipe González Márquez, Spanish politician
- March 7
- March 9
- John Cale, Welsh composer and musician (Velvet Underground)
- Mark Lindsay, singer/songwriter of the group Paul Revere & The Raiders
- March 12 - Jimmy Wynn, American baseball player
- March 13
- March 16 - James Soong, Taiwan politician
- March 17 - John Wayne Gacy, American serial killer (d. 1994)
- March 20 - Earl Bramblett, American murderer (d. 2003)
- March 23 - Walter Rodney, Guyanese historian and political figure
- March 25
- March 26 - Erica Jong, American author
- March 27
- March 28
- March 29 - Scott Wilson, American actor
- March 30 - Ruben Kun, Nauruan politician and former President of Nauru
- April 1 - Annie Nightingale, British DJ
- April 2
- April 3
- April 5
- April 6 - Barry Levinson, American film producer and director
- April 8 - Roger Chapman, British rock singer (Family)
- April 9 - James Cowan, Australian novelist
- April 10
- April 12 - Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa
- April 14
- April 15
- April 17
- April 20 - Arto Paasilinna, Finnish author
- April 23 - Sandra Dee, American actress (d. 2005)
- April 24 - Barbra Streisand, American singer, theatre and film actress, composer
- April 25
- April 26
- April 27
- May 2 - Jacques Rogge, Belgian International Olympic Committee president
- May 3 - Věra Čáslavská, Czech gymnast
- May 5 - Tammy Wynette, American country singer (d. 1998)
- May 8 - Terry Neill, Northern Irish footballer and football manager
- May 9 - John Ashcroft, United States Attorney General
- May 10 - Youssouf Sambo Bâ, Burkinabé politician
- May 12 - Ian Dury, British musician (d. 2000)
- May 17 - Taj Mahal, American singer and guitarist
- May 18
- May 19
- May 20 - David Proval, American actor
- May 22
- May 23 - Gabriel Liiceanu, Romanian philosopher
- May 24 - Ichirō Ozawa, Japanese politician
- May 26 - Levon Helm, American musician (The Band)
- May 28 - Stanley B. Prusiner, American scientist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- June 2 - Eduard Malofeyev, Russian football coach and former international player
- June 3
- June 5 - Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea and Chairperson of the African Union
- June 7 - Muammar Gaddafi, former dictator of Libya (d. 2011)
- June 8 - James Tien, Hong Kong-Taiwanese actor
- June 10
- June 12 - Bert Sakmann, German physiologist, Nobel Prize laureate
- June 16 - John Rostill, English bassist, musician and composer (The Shadows) (d. 1973)
- June 17
- June 18
- June 19 - Ralna English, American singer
- June 20 - Brian Wilson, American singer, composer/producer, musical innovator (The Beach Boys)
- June 24
- June 26
- June 27 - Bruce Johnston, American musician (The Beach Boys)
- June 28 - David Miner, American rock musician and record producer
- July 1
- July 2 - Vicente Fox, President of Mexico
- July 4
- July 7 - Carmen Duncan, Australian actress
- July 8 - Janice Pennington, American model
- July 9 - Richard Roundtree, American actor
- July 10
- July 13
- July 15 - Mil Máscaras, Mexican professional wrestler
- July 16 - Margaret Court, Australian tennis player
- July 18 - Adolf Ogi, member of the Swiss Federal Council
- July 23 - Myra Hindley, English multiple murderer (d. 2002)
- July 24 - Chris Sarandon, American actor
- July 27 - Dennis Ralston, American tennis player
- July 28 - Kaari Utrio, Finnish writer
- July 29 - Tony Sirico, American actor
- September 3
- September 5
- September 7 - Alan Haskvitz, American educator
- September 14 - Bernard MacLaverty, Irish writer
- September 15 - Wen Jiabao, Premier of the People's Republic of China
- September 16 - Tadamasa Goto, Japanese yakuza boss
- September 17 - Desmond Lynam, British TV presenter
- September 18 - Gabriella Ferri, Italian singer
- September 19 - Freda Payne, American singer and actress
- September 22
- September 24 - Ilkka "Danny" Lipsanen, Finnish singer
- September 28 - Marshall Bell, American actor
- September 29
- September 30 - Frankie Lymon, American singer (d. 1968)
- October 1 - Gunther Wallraff, German investigative journalist
- October 4 - Christopher Stone, American actor (d. 1995)
- October 6
- October 7
- October 11 - Amitabh Bachchan, Indian actor
- October 12
- October 13
- October 14 - Evelio Javier, Filipino politician, lawyer, and civil servant (d. 1986)
- October 15 - Penny Marshall, American actress and director
- October 19 - Andrew Vachss, American author and attorney
- October 20
- October 21 -
- October 22 - Annette Funicello, American actress
- October 23 - Michael Crichton, American author (d. 2008)
- October 24 - Ruthann Aron, Brooklyn, New York
- October 26 - Bob Hoskins, British actor
- October 29 - Bob Ross, American painter and television presenter (d. 1995)
- October 31 - David Ogden Stiers, American actor and voice-over artist
January - March
- January 4
- January 6 - Henri de Baillet-Latour, Belgian International Olympic Committee president (b. 1876)
- January 14 - Porfirio Barba-Jacob, Colombian poet and writer (b. 1883)
- January 16
- January 22 - Walter Sickert, English Impressionist painter (b. 1860)
- January 26 - Felix Hausdorff, German mathematician (suicide) (b. 1868)
- February 8 - Fritz Todt, Nazi German engineer (b. 1891)
- February 12 - Grant Wood, American painter (b. 1891)
- February 14 - Mirosław Ferić, Polish pilot of the No. 303 Squadron in Northolt (b. 1915)
- February 19 - Frank Abbandando, American gangster (executed) (b. 1910)
- February 22 - Stefan Zweig, Austrian writer (suicide with wife) (b. 1881)
- February 28 - Karel Doorman, Dutch admiral (sinking ship) (b. 1889)
- March 1
- March 8 - José Raúl Capablanca, Cuban chess player (b. 1888)
- March 10 - William Henry Bragg, English physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1862)
- March 21 - J.S Woodsworth, Canadian politician (b. 1874)
April - June
- April 15 - Robert Musil, Austrian-born novelist (b. 1880)
- April 16 - Princess Alexandra of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, granddaughter of Queen Victoria
- April 17 - Jean Baptiste Perrin, French physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1870)
- April 18 - Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, American sculptor and socialite (b. 1875)
- April 24
- May 2 - Jose Abad Santos, Filipino chief justice of the Supreme Court (b. 1886)
- May 3 - Thorvald Stauning, Prime Minister of Denmark (b. 1873)
- May 7 - Felix Weingartner, Yugoslavian conductor (b. 1863)
- May 10 - Joe Weber, American vaudevillian (b. 1867)
- May 14 - Frank Churchill, American composer (b. 1901)
- May 16 - Bronisław Malinowski, Polish anthropologist (b. 1884)
- May 27 - Chen Duxiu, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (b. 1879)
- May 29
- June 4
- June 5 - Virginia Lee Corbin, American actress (b. 1910)
- June 7 - Alan Blumlein, English electronics engineer (b. 1903)
- June 26 - Gene Stack, first American major league baseball player to be drafted during WWII and also the first to die in service (b. 1920)
- June 30 - William Henry Jackson, American photographer (b. 1843)
July - September
- July 1 - Peadar Mac Fhionnlaoich, Irish language writer (b. 1857)
- July 8 - Refik Saydam, prime minister of Turkey in his office (b.1881)
- July 15 - Wenceslao Vinzons, Filipino politician and resistance leader (bayoneted to death) (b. 1910)
- July 23 - Adam Czerniakow, Polish engineer and senator (suicide) (b. 1880)
- July 26 - Roberto Arlt, Argentine writer (b. 1900)
- July 28 - William Matthew Flinders Petrie, English Egyptologist (b. 1853)
- July 30 - Jimmy Blanton, American bassist (b. 1918)
- August 3
- August 12 - Phillips Holmes, American actor (b. 1907)
- August 22 - Michel Fokine, Russian choreographer and dancer (b. 1880)
- August 25 - Prince George, Duke of Kent, fourth eldest son of King George V (b. 1902)
- September 14 - Ezra Seymour Gosney, American philanthropist and eugenicist (b. 1855)
- September 20 - Hans-Joachim Marseille, German World War II fighter ace (b. 1919)
October - December
- October 1 - Ants Piip, Estonian lawyer, diplomat and politician (b. 1884)
- October 12 - Aritomo Gotō, Japanese admiral (b. 1888)
- October 15 - Marie Tempest, English stage & film actress (b. 1864)
- October 20 - May Robson, Australian actress (b. 1858)
- October 23 - Ralph Rainger, American composer and Hollywood songwriter (b. 1901)
- October 24 - James C. Morton, American character actor (b. 1884)
- November 1 - Hugo Distler, German composer (b. 1908)
- November 5 - George M. Cohan, American songwriter and entertainer (Yankee Doodle Dandy) (b. 1878)
- November 9 - Edna May Oliver, stage & film character actress (b. 1883)
- November 12 - Laura Hope Crews, American stage & film actress (Aunt PittyPat) (b. 1879)
- November 13 - Daniel J. Callaghan, United States Navy officer (b. 1890)
- November 16 - Josef Schmidt, Polish tenor (b. 1904)
- November 19 - Bruno Schulz, Polish writer and painter (shot) (b. 1892)
- November 21 - Leopold Graf Berchtold, Austro-Hungarian foreign minister (b. 1863)
- November 30 - Buck Jones, American actor (b. 1891)
- December 3 - Henner Henkel, German tennis champion (b. 1915)
- December 7 - Orland Steen Loomis, Governor-elect of Wisconsin (b. 1893)
- December 12 - Helen Westley, stage and film character actress (b. 1875)
- December 22 - Franz Boas, German anthropologist (b. 1858)
- December 24 - Francois Darlan, French Naval officer (b. 1881)
Notes and References
- The actual number of victims, including the ten person crew, is uncertain, although a recent study concludes it may have been as high as 791, of which 785 were Jewish.http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/holocaust/0140_Struma.html#P9 Franz & Collins' book Death on the Black Sea: The Untold Story of the Struma and WWII's Holocaust at Sea, calls it simply the "largest naval civilian disaster of the war." (page 255)
- Treblinka - ein Todeslager der "Aktion Reinhard", in: "Aktion Reinhard" - Die Vernichtung der Juden im Generalgouvernement, Bogdan Musial (ed.), Osnabrück 2004, pp. 257–281.
- Donald L. Niewyk, Francis R. Nicosia, The Columbia guide to the Holocaust, Columbia University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-231-11200-9. Page 210
- http://www.taphilo.com/history/8thaf/index.shtml Taphilo.com
- http://fpmedia.club.officelive.com/EersteaanvalVIIIBomberCommand.aspx Nieuws-wo2.tk
- Book: Muggenthaler, August Karl. German Raiders of WWII. Prentice-Hall. 1977. 0-13-354027-8. 241–242.
- Book: Dawson, Jeff. Dead Reckoning: The Dunedin Star Disaster. 2005. London. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 2008-03-31. 0753820447.